In an Empty Green Room

In an Empty Green Room
– by Gabi Clayton

there are times now 
when I recognize 
that I have forgotten you
spaces now 
where you are absent 
even in the everyday minutiae
until my finger brushes against 
the tag from the crematorium 
kept in the same glass tray 
I keep earrings in 
and I recognize once again 
that you will always be seventeen

you live now with my father 
in an empty green room 
where I am always twelve

I do my best to fill it with light
but that must be for me 
mother and daughter
as it is always too late 
for father and son

© 2017 Gabi Clayton

In an Empty Green Room was my response, decades later, to the death of my father when I was twelve and the suicide of my youngest son when he was seventeen.

It was written in June 2017, and read at a Creative Colloquy writer’s forum in Tacoma, WA soon after that.

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